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Subject: If Dominion bored me to tears, should I bother with this? rss

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John VanDenBerg
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I'm not trying to stir up trouble. Honest!devil
I understand that many, many people like and/or love Dominion.
It was just a big MEH for me and my group.yuk So I traded it away.

I WANT to like a deck building game, because that mechanic sounds interesting, but apparently I need more of a goal than quickly cycling through my deck to deplete a card pile(s).

I'm looking for opinions as to whether Thunderstone adds or changes enough chrome/mechanics/whatever to significantly differentiate it from Dominion.

Does it feel like a Dominion expansion, or a completely different game with some similar mechanics?

Are there any Dominion haters that love this game?

I've read most of the reviews, including those with comparisons to Dominion, and I still don't have a good feel as to whether buying Thunderstone is worthwhile for me and mine.

Note: I'm the primary game buyer in my group, so the odds of me trying before buying are slim to nil.

Any help would be much appreciated.

UPDATE MAY 2011: The answer to my question is... YES! I particularly enjoy Epic T'Stone. Base + Wrath + Doomgate + Dragonspire + Promos = Awesome
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Matt Tonks
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I've been wondering the same thing myself. I love Dominion to bits & naturally have been wondering about whether Thunderstone offers me a different game with the deck-building element.

Sorry to hijack your thread, but I'd be interested to know the same question for those that love Dominion.
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Todd Warnken
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A guy in our group does not care for Dominion but he does like Thunderstone. he says that Thunderstone has a point to it while in his opinion Dominion doesn't.
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mojo shivers
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I actually described the difference between the two to my friend, thusly:

Dominion is shit, while Thunderstone is the shit.

Everything you like about Dominion is still there. They just cut off all the inanelydepressingandrepetitivesomuchsoIcoulddie parts.
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Dave G
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It's very similar. It seems like the default way to explain the rules is to say "X does this...just like Y in Dominion."

The choice between going back to buy more cards or going to fight in the dungeon adds another strategic decision. That said, it's still just a "draw a hand, buy some stuff, game's over when that pile is empty" game. I love Dominion so I really enjoyed this, but if you didn't care for Dominion I don't see this one being a great success.
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Nigel Buckle
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I've only played Thunderstone twice, but I'm keen to play again. Dominion I really don't like at all.

There are obvious similarities - but for me the theme helps and there are 2 distinct things you do on your turn, either try to kill a monster or visit the village and train up your hero and buy more stuff - so unlike Dominion you don't use the same process to buy VPs ...

And in gameplay you reveal your hand and then do stuff, there is a bit of draw extra cards but you don't seem to get chains of effects going on and on (or at least I haven't seen it yet). Game end condition is not running out the 'buy' deck(s) rather hitting the runestone card in the dungeon deck.

Biggest thing for me though is the theme - I enjoy it and the game engages me, rather than boring me rigid.
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Dan Schaeffer
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It's also, in my limited experience, harder to track who's winning in Thunderstone. That may be a function of not knowing the values of the Monster cards inside and out, as well as the fact that the score values are in tiny numbers in the corner (making them harder to see when someone takes the card). Also, having some of the Village and Hero cards worth victory points adds to the fog. I like that aspect, as it's harder to say with certainty that you are out of it, or that you're crushing your opponents. I can see a lot more surprise victories possible with Thunderstone.

I also like the addition of XP as an alternative form of purchasing power, although I'd like to see it able to do more (e.g., "if you have N XP, then Card X additionally gives you Power Y") -- that would make it a more strategic decision whether to level up a Hero or hold the XP for use with such a card.

EDIT: I have only played once, so I have very limited experience of the variety of cards, but while I enjoyed the game, none of the cards really wowed me. None of them made me think "Oh, I see how that would combine with that and do something really cool," the way cards in Dominion often interact with each other. Maybe there's enough variety in the base set to ensure more fun combinations and considerable replay value. But I have to admit, unfair or not, my first thought halfway through my one play was, "This game cries out for expansions."
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Joshua Harris
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I like Dominion, and I have all expansions. I will be trading them all away since I don't ever see them getting used after Thunderstone. It has THEME. If that matters to you, then it's a no-brainer. Just the injection of some theme takes a good game like Dominion, and makes it ten times superior.

Game examples

Card A gives me more card Card R give me a buy, I buy card Z.
Next turn, I will use card G to buy another copy of card Z.

-or-

I'm gonna send my Town Guards out to hunt for supplies, then I will buy this Shortsword to equip my town Militia (as long as the poor malnourished lads eat some Iron Rations they should be able to muster enough energy to wield it) And then I think in the morning, I'll send out a party into that dungeon to hopefully rid the town of that nasty Dragon.

(Not to mention downtime dropping to 10% of Dominion, since you get your 6 cards, lay them out, use them. No 37 card combos that empty your entire hand and takes 8 minutes for an end result of buying one card more than you could five minutes into the turn...)
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John Anderson
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I think at first you'd like it a lot, but eventually I think it could fall into the same category you put Dominion into. Thunderstone seems fancy and different at first, but eventually I think you'll find out that it can be just as repetitive as Dominion. You start off going to the Village to buy good stuff (i.e you start off buying Gold and/or good Actions) then eventually you head to the Dungeon to kill monsters (i.e you start buying Provinces).

The cards are prettier and it does feel like you're "doing" more, but eventually I think it would get just as dry. Also, I think Dominion actually has more variety to it. In Thunderstone the monsters aren't THAT different from each other, and neither are the heroes, really. They do slightly different things, but they don't really change your overall strategy that much.

That said, I love both games. But if you don't like Dominion, I'm not sure how much you'll love Thunderstone in the long term.
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Nigel Buckle
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thumbsup and to Joshua who just summed it up about 100 times better than my attempt above!
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Marco Marandola
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Played 3 games of Thunderstone so far First game I found it was so-so second game was a little better but still prefer Dominion and the 3rd game I found it's not for me.

The main difference I found from Dominion and this is there a lot less interaction between players (Ok did not try all the cards so...) I found when playing Thunderstone you could play alone and it would not make any difference. Like I said did not try all the cards. But I really enjoy Dominion more with cards that make players interact with each other.
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Todd
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It depends on what you hated about Dominion. If it was lack of theme, Thunderstone is much better. If it was the mechanics in general, you're out of luck.

Actions in Thunderstone feel like they have more purpose, as you fight monsters instead of buying land. There is currently little to no player interaction, as well as a few holes in the gameplay. It is fun, and the problems I see look easily fixable by expansions.
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Sven Dye
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What are you waiting for? BUY IT YOU MUST!
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Stephen Cappello
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Morrison wrote:
Played 3 games of Thunderstone so far First game I found it was so-so second game was a little better but still prefer Dominion and the 3rd game I found it's not for me.

The main difference I found from Dominion and this is there a lot less interaction between players (Ok did not try all the cards so...) I found when playing Thunderstone you could play alone and it would not make any difference. Like I said did not try all the cards. But I really enjoy Dominion more with cards that make players interact with each other.


I hope you are comparing Base Dominion with Base Thunderstone. If I recall correctly, Base Dominion only had the Witch that cause any player interaction. Thunderstone has at least two Hero classes that when upgraded make your opponents play with 1 or 2 cards less, Banish is a spell that allows you to either re-arrange the dungeon or send monsters to the bottom of the deck, and their are other Hero classes that have similar powers.

I never bought Dominion, but I do own D:Intrigue and D:Seaside. Base dominion bored me to tears. Base ThUnderstone is thematic and interactive, and doesn't suffer from the "10 minute player turns because I have to figure out what order to play my cards so I can draw and play half me deck at once." Granted, chaining 10 cards at once was neat the first few times, now it just maked the game drag in my opinion. Thunderstone will enjoy the same level of expansion as Dominion. There is already an expansion in the works that should be out in 4 months or so (If AEG doesn't run into of its rotten luck).

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Cameron Chien
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JTQuest: I would definitely give it a try. Unless you guys hated the actual deck-building mechanic, it's worth giving Thunderstone a spin.

Puck71: Really? You think the heroes are pretty much the same? How about the Elven and Amazon archers that only attack back rows? How about the Assassin/Rogue hero that makes all your opponents discard one card? If you think those two are pretty much the same as the Dwarf (gets bonus attack when equipping an edged weapon) then well...

I see the perceived lack of player interaction mentioned a lot and have two things to say about it:

1) As mentioned many times, base Dominion actually has LESS player interaction than base Thunderstone. You can't compare a base game + two expansions to a base game by itself.
2) Not everyone WANTS a ton of (negative) player interaction. There's a reason why cooperative games are very popular in certain circles.

Cameron
 
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Marco Marandola
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In The base game there's more that the Witch. You have also Militia, Spy, Thief, Bureaucrat.


I just find the interaction is better in Dominion. Thunderstone can have some long turn also. People I played with where never sure should I go attack counting the attack point finding out on no I don't have enough I;ll go to the village.
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John Anderson
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Zeede wrote:
Puck71: Really? You think the heroes are pretty much the same? How about the Elven and Amazon archers that only attack back rows? How about the Assassin/Rogue hero that makes all your opponents discard one card? If you think those two are pretty much the same as the Dwarf (gets bonus attack when equipping an edged weapon) then well...
Yeah, of course they do different things, but do those differences really affect your strategy much? You still start out buying items and heroes, then eventually just go kill the highest VP monsters you can. At the end of the game I've never really found it mattered what type of heroes I had - I just killed whatever gave me the most VP, and I generally had enough power heroes and items (of whatever type) to do so.
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Derek Mondeau
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JTQuest wrote:
I WANT to like a deck building game, because that mechanic sounds interesting, but apparently I need more of a goal than quickly cycling through my deck

This is precisely why I think it is safe to say you'll love Thunderstone.
 
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Kirk Monsen
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Sippi wrote:

... If I recall correctly, Base Dominion only had the Witch that cause any player interaction. ...


Erm ... ANY attack card would be considered 'player interaction', of which there are 5 in the base set, putting roughly 2 in any game ...

There there is the whole "if someone empties a pile, it isn't available" interaction

And the "any player can end the game, causing it not to end when it is convenient to you" interaction

And the "bluff strategy" interaction ...

-Munch "other than that, if you ignore the other players, Dominion plays just like solitaire" Wolf
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Alex Rockwell
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If you dont like Dominion then I wouldnt think you would like this.

The only exception would be if you like the Dominion mechanics but not there theme and thats the reason you dont like it.
 
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Sterling Babcock
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I guess I would take the other side.

I love Dominion for its variety and ability to look for good combos in a multitude of choices such that I feel like I am in competition with other players.

I did not like Thunderstone because it seemed so much more random based on what cards you draw, when upgraded heros become available (i.e. Should I buy that hero because then it makes the upgraded one available to the next player), and what monsters come up. It just seemed that more randomness determined who was the winner.

Just and opinion from the other side since this was posted to the Thunderstone forums.
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David Vanden Heuvel
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so this just proves... you never know till you try.
 
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Greg Fulford
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Solamar wrote:
I did not like Thunderstone because it seemed so much more random based on what cards you draw, when upgraded heros become available (i.e. Should I buy that hero because then it makes the upgraded one available to the next player), and what monsters come up. It just seemed that more randomness determined who was the winner.


This points out to me the biggest difference as to why I'm enjoying Thunderstone and can't stand Dominion. In Dominion, you make all of the interesting decisions before you even start playing, and then spend the rest of the time mechanically going through the motions. Thunderstone actually gives you changing conditions to deal with and choices to make as you're playing the game.

Thunderstone also has a theme that's reflected in the game mechanics. You're building your deck so that you can go slaughter monsters, and the conditions for buying cards in the village work differently from what you need to defeat monsters in the dungeon. Compare this to Dominion where the main goal is to buy cards that will allow you to buy more cards, and eventually buy more expensive cards that do nothing.
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John VanDenBerg
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OK, after KARAT's review, this sounds like the game that I wanted Dominion to be. Added to my wish list.
 
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Eric Jome
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Another option?

Arctic Scavengers
 
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